Inflammation on your Pap smear

Inflammation on your Pap smear


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Could you tell me what it means if you are told your Pap smear had benign cellular changes/inflammation? I was put on Flagyl for 7 days, and told to have another smear in 3 months. Is this common and is it serious? 


Christina S. Chu, MD, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

The diagnosis on your pap smear is very common. While "inflammation" may be a sign of infection (such as sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea or chlamydia), it usually is just non-specific (meaning not due to any identifiable infection).

Treatment with Flagyl (which treats bacterial vaginosis) is a common first step to try to clear up the inflammation so that a Pap test may have a clearer reading. Patients should return for another Pap in 3 months as your care provider suggested for confirmation.